The complex role of physical exercise and reactive oxygen species on brain

Zsolt Radak*, Orsolya Marton, Eniko Nagy, Erika Koltai, Sataro Goto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are continuously generated during aerobic metabolism and at moderate level. They play a role in redox signaling, but in significant concentration they cause oxidative damage and neurodegeneration. Because of the enhanced sensitivity of brain to ROS, it is especially important to maintain the normal redox state in different types of neuron cells. In last decade it became clear that regular exercise beneficially affects brain function, and can play an important preventive and therapeutic role in stroke, Alzheimer, and Parkinson diseases. The effects of exercise appear to be very complex and could include neurogenesis via neurotrophic factors, increased capillariszation, decreased oxidative damage, and increased proteolytic degradation by proteasome and neprilysin. Data from our and other laboratories indicate that exercise-induced modulation of ROS levels plays a role in the protein content and expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, tyrosine-related kinase B (TrkB), and cAMP response element binding protein, resulting in better function and increased neurogenesis. Therefore, it appears that exercise-induced modulation of the redox state is an important means, by which exercise benefits brain function, increases the resistance against oxidative stress, facilitates recovery from oxidative stress, and attenuates age-associated decline in cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-93
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sport and Health Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Exercise
  • Neurotrophins brain function
  • Oxidative damage
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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